CSotD: Thanks For Your Servileness

I’m more than a little burned out on upside-downism in cartooning about Justice Alito’s political posturing, though the immediacy with which the examples cascaded makes it more of a coincidence than a matter of redundancy, an event cartoonists once described as a Yahtzee, though I haven’t heard the term in a while.

However, I like Clay Bennett (CTFP)’s variation because, rather than simply turning everything upside down, he is more focused on just what has been turned on its head, and echoes the original sense of the reversed flag: Distress.

Note, by the way, that Alito himself has said his wife only hoisted the reversed flag to indicate distress, but their story has begun to crumble into such self-serving nonsense that the distress is mostly their own, though the Washington Post hasn’t done much of a job of explaining why they sat on the story for three years.

Which, as Bennett’s cartoon suggests, puts the distress back on the Court, and the nation: The question of “Who will watch the watchmen?” applying equally to both the judicial branch and the media.

It’s somewhat comforting to have the normally conservative Rick McKee (Counterpoint) mock Alito’s absurd excuse that the flying of the upside-down flag at his home and the Appeal to Heaven flag at his summer place were Martha-Ann’s decision and nothing he had any control over.

I don’t expect — and don’t want — to see bullies in positions of power, but neither to I want to see someone exercising judgment over the nation’s legal system who can’t persuade a spouse not to make mockery of an obvious, critical requirement for at least the appearance of discretion, if not genuine neutrality.

It would be nice to see political commentators on both sides of the aisle come together over this calamity, but of course the fact that we could be divided on something so blatant is the real calamity.

As Jimmy Margulies (KFS) points out, the problem is screamingly obvious. My first reaction was that the “Stop the Steal” slogan was too much, that he could have simply depicted the reversed flag, but then again, if the problem were that obvious to everyone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

It may take an effort to somehow justify Alito’s lack of ethical sense, but Chip Bok (Creators) makes a valiant effort with an attempt to declare that only extremist pro-Palestinian America haters feel the justices of the Supreme Court should at least pretend to be neutral.

Real Americans, he suggests, don’t care about the dignity and ethical standards of our government. It’s unpatriotic to expect such things.

So it’s up to those who give a damn to continue to make the point, and Bennett comes back to sharpen his opinion, making it clear that, the longer this goes on, the more obvious the actual nature of the distress in his earlier cartoon becomes.

And if Margulies risked being too clear in his depiction, Bennett takes a risk by not indicating whose feet are wearing those chintzy gold high-tops. As the young folks say, IYKYK.

And if you don’t know, it’s likely that you also don’t care. As mentioned here before, the most devoted rightwing voters aren’t those who take their news from the propaganda outlets, but those who take in no news at all.

As one of the pollsters on that study remarked,  “That’s why it’s hard to move this race based on actual news. They aren’t seeing it, and they don’t care.”

Which means that constant drumming on topics like the ethical shortcomings of Alito and Thomas may seem redundant to those who pay attention, but it may be the only hope of getting through to those who don’t see the news and don’t care about the facts yet don’t have the sense to then leave voting to people who do.

Speaking of Civic Duty

Meanwhile, on the other side of the briny deep, Morten Morland reports, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a general election.

If you distrust American polls showing Trump and Biden within the margin of error of a tie, you may prefer British polls that show Sunak’s Tories about to get a good ass-kicking.

Which has induced him to announce that he plans, if kept in power, to make national service mandatory.

This bold plan has been described by observers as “bonkers” but is being even less enthusiastically greeted by cartoonists.

Though a number of them seem less intent on directly addressing Sunak’s cunning plan than criticizing it by insulting the nation’s 18-year-olds.

Jeremy Banx suggests that perhaps a bunch of self-indulgent slackers aren’t quite prepared to get off their hind ends and perform any meaningful service.

And Patrick Blower warns that they may not quite possess a taste for the sort of discipline they would face in the military.

Though Guy Venables argues — with just perhaps maybe a touch of sarcasm — that they’ve already got excellent combat training.

And Matt Pritchett assures us that it won’t matter because their loving parents will find some way to get them out of it just as they get the little slackers out of everything else.

A dissenting voice comes from Ella Baron, and, while I haven’t bothered to check birth dates, I very much suspect she is far closer to the age of the potential conscriptees than those other cartoonists, which could explain why she emphasizes the democratic element of freedom and willingness rather than questioning their capacity to serve.

For my part, I’d be all in favor of national service in this country if it were voluntary and would result in GI Bill level benefits for anyone willing to invest a few years of their life, whether in the military or in VISTA and similar domestic service programs.

It would have to be as rock-solid as the GI Bill, hard to game by either the bureaucrats or the recipients, rewarding accomplished service rather than promising limited loan forgiveness for those jumping through post-educational hoops.

Could such a program be supported by those who, like Lisa Benson (Counterpoint), object to Biden spending on young college graduates so they can quit pouring their earnings down the loan-repayment rat hole and start actively contributing to the nation’s economy?

Or am I just remembering a past that can never be reborn?

One thought on “CSotD: Thanks For Your Servileness

  1. The Washington Post has already passed on the Alito story (5-25-24 Spoiler alert: his wife did it) but it’s the hottest edit cartoon Big Foot du jour.

    When nobody really knew the details of Paul Pelosi getting hammered in his briefs I reacted in the moment (AKA: deadline) and drew a cartoon at least entertaining the idea something was amiss. POLITICO fired me for suggesting PP was anything but a victim.
    FF a few days ago when the perp was sentenced to 30 years I went on X and apologized -as if anyone needed it. They didn’t. But it was the right thing to do. -ML

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